Stinger is the name of Kia's flashy new entry into the sport hatchback arena, and it proved a blast to drive. Plus, unlike a low-slung sports coupe, the four-passenger Stinger is easy to get in and out of.
Press the ignition start button, and the exhaust produces a mellow purr, and the engine sparkles in acceleration.
An all-wheel-drive Stinger with a 365-horsepower, 3.3-liter twin-turbocharged V6 can race from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds. This compares well with, for example, a Jaguar XF sedan's or wagon's time of 4.9 seconds. Then again, sports coupes such as a Lamborghini Huracan or Chevrolet Corvette can claim times of 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 to 3.2 seconds respectively. And the Dodge Challenger Demon sedan can, according to automotive media tests, do 0 to 60 mph in 2.3 seconds.
As a true gran turismo, the Stinger does not fancy itself as an exceptionally explosive machine. It is simply a hatchback that is awfully fun to drive. Make no mistake, though, this Kia is quick and fast.
All Stinger models are fitted with a leather-appointed interior. The seats are bolstered, leg room is plentiful, instrumentation is wisely placed and the cargo capacity expands from 23 cubic feet to 41 cubic feet after the rear seat has been folded flat. None of the muscle monsters mentioned above come close to that.
To assist the air-fuel mixture, there are air intakes on both sides, top of hood (two) and in front with vertical wind dams flanking the upper and lower grilles. These dams help cool brakes.
Stinger is the most intriguing new car to arrive in 2018. It can be pricey with the base model in the $32,000 range and the optional AWD (rear-wheel-drive standard) top-of-the-line and loaded GT2 V6 coming in at $51,400. Five trim levels are offered and they are the same in appearance and similar in apparel. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard in all five trim levels.
Amenities beyond the norm in the tested GT2 model include heated steering wheel, power sunroof and steering wheel, head-up display (driver speed reflected on windshield with legal speed listed on the navigation screen), Harmon Kardon sound system, Nappa leather (softer and smoother), driver memory for power tilt, adjustable steering wheel and seat. The GT2 also has advanced safety features such as alerting inattentive driver (alarm if vehicle strays) and forward collision avoidance warning systems.
The Stinger may be a sport hatchback fad that dies quickly or Kia might have created a lasting sales phenomenon.
Vehicle: GT2 model of 2018 Kia Stinger
Type: four-door, four-occupant, compact sporty hatchback
Engine: 3.3-liter, 365-horsepower, twin-turbocharged V6
Transmission: eight-speed automatic with paddle shifters
Fuel tank: 15.9 gallons
Top speed: 167 miles per hour according to manufacturer
Tires, wheels: 19-inch
Brakes: ventilated discs, 13.8-inch front, 13.4-inch rear
Turn circle, curb-to-curb: 38.4 feet
Wheelbase, length, width, height in inches: 114.4, 190.2, 73.6, 56.1
Cargo: 23 cubic feet behind rear seat, 41 cubic feet when rear seat folded
Weight: 4,004 pounds
Warranty: five years or 60,000 miles with roadside assistance, 10 years or 100,000 miles powertrain